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Old Mar 17th, 2019, 09:41 PM
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Social Skill Checks

So this is sort of a question as a player and a prospective DM..

How important have skill checks proven to be in your campaigns? I have been highly interested in making a "face" character but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Then I started a rough draft of my first one shot. It may be a bit ambitious but I really want to work in a double agent NPC. Clearly, social skill checks can change when/how this NPC's true nature is revealed. However, It started to occur to me that eventually the party will find out. Either early on, possibly providing the party the advantage of fighting him without his baddy buddies or when they find the bandits and he reveals himself to be their leader...

Maybe a one shot is a bad example. The ultimate question is this.. How much, as a DM, are you willing to allow your party to miss out on for failed (or skipped) social skill checks?
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Old Mar 18th, 2019, 02:58 PM
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Which system are we talking? That could impact people's answers.

As for me, my GMing philosophy is never put an important event behind a roll. Usually a failed social roll just means they have to do something the hard way instead of the easy way

Can't charm that guard? Well guess you better follow him home and roll him in an ally for his keys. Couldn't convince the librarian for access to the restricted area? Sounds like the rogue will be practicing her high window work tonight. Flubbed the roll with the king? Shame your supplies are shoddy, but results speak louder than words. Put a few W on the board and people will overlook a few social gaffs.

I also try and reward good RP with bonuses to rolls. Check with your GM to see if a hard face is even worth rolling? A soso face with good RP will be rolling the same as a hard face without them.

That said, a hard face with good RP is a force to be reckoned with. Just keep in mind that social skills are not mind control. That fort Knox guard isn't letting you in no matter how many 20s you roll. He will however invite you for drinks where he spills the beans on that Intel you needed to bust in yourself!
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Old Mar 18th, 2019, 04:49 PM
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The only system I know is 5e. Is there a notable difference for social encounters in other systems?

Thank you for the feedback. That definitely makes sense that you use these types of encounters as an alternate, often easier, method. I will certainly try to adopt this mindset in my own games. However, as much sense as it does make, I can't personally justify creating a highly charismatic PC without a real "need" for their particular skill set.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2019, 09:59 PM
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You'll want to check with your DM if there will be an opportunity for you to shine as well, otherwise your masterfully designed character might not be the fun time you wanted it to be.

With regard to your reveal, I would roll checks to reveal disguises and motives for the characters in secret, sometimes dice rolls can be a signal to the players and trigger suspicion when there normally wouldn't be.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2019, 06:32 PM
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Ask DM first about how they handle charisma rolls. This will be different between people.

Personally I've hosted many games where I never put dialogue behind rolls. I only did clues based on a hidden perception check. When players rolled well they'd get more elaborate descriptions of the NPC's facial expressions, gestures, or voice. Those games were frankly hard-mode, as they gave me as the GM a ton of control over the NPC's thinking process. As time passed I started to roll occasionally when NPC's had to make decisions, so that they make a bit less optimal, but more lively decisions.

Another way I've seen this treated is when the GM only allow you to roll for charisma after you come up with an argument. So depending on what you say the DC is different, and if you don't know what to say at all you can't even roll. In those cases having a party face is important but only if you're good at dialogues in the first place. I think this is the most common among DnD DMs.

A slightly easier version of that is when DMs award you points based on your arguments, and then have you roll at the end of the discussion to sum everything up. This way the player's arguments work like a charisma modifier, which makes having that much charisma not really necessary if you can come up with good arguments instead.

Other GM's think that writing elaborate dialogues slows down the pace, and will ask you to tell them only what you're saying, like "I persuade him to lower the prices" and then they have you roll the dice on it. That's a bit extreme but in those cases the party face is most important.

There's probably a plethora of approaches in-between those, but that's all I could think of off the top of my head.
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Put a few W on the board and people will overlook a few social gaffs.
Speaking of social skill checks, I've been straight facing my way through meetings for over a year with a boss that is always talking about putting Ws on the board.

I assume from context that it means achieving outcomes, but I honestly have never heard of it outside of those meetings (and just now) and have no idea on the exact meaning or origin of the term.
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 08:03 AM
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It's a sports term. Stats are Wins/Losses/Ties shorthanded to W/L/T

So putting Ws on the board means winning! Aka meeting all your goals
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Old Apr 5th, 2019, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imveros View Post
Just keep in mind that social skills are not mind control. That fort Knox guard isn't letting you in no matter how many 20s you roll. He will however invite you for drinks where he spills the beans on that Intel you needed to bust in yourself!
100% this. I have a Witcher TRPG campaign over on Roll20 and my players for the longest time were persuaded that the Mage could talk his way out of any/everything. Until the mage's biggest rival (a particularly angry lady-bard with political influence in Redania) used their political powers to have the party arrested and brought to her under armed guard.

You can roll as many dice as you want, but I can't see someone you cursed with magical herpes ten years ago being happy to release you just because you had an eloquent string of sentences. I get some DM's might be happy to handwave that but this is a pretty big part of that character's identity, this rival had been hounding and attempting to impede the party's progress the entire campaign up until they set foot in Redania, it'd be completely anti-climatic and kind of boring for the party, really.
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